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Fin24 user Karen Kelly writes:
I WAS taught most of the fundamentals about life by my
father and therefore I learnt to think like a boy.
It certainly has served me well in many aspects; however, I
believe that I learnt to copy the social behaviour of men and never really got
to know how to appreciate the intrigue of being a woman.
I spent most of my free time with my dad at sports clubs and
pubs and was able to interact with people much older than myself. This was
another thing that has stood me in good stead.
I was never one for dressing up and going out; I preferred
to hit the social scene right after work and chat to the guys. I normally left
when I knew that I had had enough or the place was full of glamour girls.
Little did I know that I was missing out by not being part
of a sisterhood, which would have taught me the social lessons that I needed,
and also to appreciate myself as a girl.
Two years and four months ago, my mom called me to come as
dad was not well. I was not nervous or scared as my dad had suffered many
strokes before and was in a wheelchair at that point.
He was a hell of a fighter and I knew he would pull through.
When I arrived there, I felt the panic racing through my body as he was yellow
and in a coma.
The neighbour told him: "Vic, Karen is here" - no
response. I lay next to him, telling him: "Daddy, I am here." He
heard none of this; there was no reaction at all. I thought: "This time he
is not coming back."
That's when I started to get scared.
The paramedics rushed him to the hospital and we started
preparing to lose this man that we did not want to let go of. The doctors had
us agree to a "do not resuscitate" order, which felt like we were
murdering him. Yet he rallied in hospital, as his carers gave him excellent
care and I was there for many hours a day.
In the end, he had to go to a step down facility to build
his strength before he could go home. He was very unstable and scared there and
by then my mom had indicated that she could not cope with night and day nurses
while still working herself.
We booked him into a frailcare facility, and once again the
carers fell in love with him and took good care of him. He finally accepted
that this was where he would live until his death and I took four months out of
business to be with him as much as possible.
I had to go to the shops and buy nappies and baby toiletries
that kept him clean and comfortable. Biscuits were eaten most afternoons and
were shared with the others too. I still cannot walk past the baby aisle in a
supermarket that has drinking cups, without getting a lump in my throat.
I had the opportunity to feed, clean and change him for four
months. It was hard to do and to see the debilitation, but he was my dad, the
man that I loved more than life itself.
I lay on his bed with him for hours every day and we talked:
me with words and him with grunts and signs or nods. We talked through things
that we had never discussed before and each let go of regrets and guilt. I kept
telling him that I would be OK without him, and that he could go peacefully.
Nothing else existed for me in those four months, other than
making sure that he was comfortable and that he was not scared. Finally he was
ready to leave this earth and I had known that it would be that morning (I just
knew). I took my time finishing my tea as I did not want to see the last breath
as he died.
The nurse saw my car coming and she told him: "Karen's
here." He sighed and passed away. This was on October 28 2009. Everything
was numb and suddenly we had to do the funeral planning; we had the funeral two
I gave a eulogy and remember very little of the funeral, and
then went home to sleep.
In the past, I would have gone straight to the pub to be
with people and to have drinks to numb the pain. I had plenty of time to
rethink my life and the awesome bond I had with my dad. He had not wanted me to
fall apart when he died, which is what a lot of people thought would happen.
He hung on long enough to see my sister, and for me to
promise him that I would put other things and people into higher priority
places. I made that commitment to him the day before he died.
A month after his death, my hubby realised that I was no
longer keen to go to the pub so often. He felt that I had changed and was in
danger of becoming boring. I asked him what he really wanted from me.
He said: "I want you to love me the way you loved your
dad." I thought - not going to happen. A few weeks later I woke up after a
night out and said that I was very bored with our social life and would be
taking time out. Hubby said he felt the same way.
And so the journey to victory started. On June 23 2010 we
chose to live differently, and to live for each other. What an amazing journey
it has been.
Besides the financial rewards bringing us security, we have
fallen in love with each other bigger and better than before. There are no
power struggles in our relationship. We talk, communicate and negotiate on
We have a common family dream and vision - which we are
attaining at a speed of knots.
We are attracting like-minded people who delight in our love
and success. All of this generates more for everyone our circle.
I feel as if I have learnt to love Kevin so much more, and a
lot of the pain of losing dad is gone as I put those emotions into a place of
positivity. I have developed a strong marriage where we do lots of laughing and
I have a strong relationship with my mom too, which is a new
thing. This has also brought great rewards for her and I.
So - I lost a father. I gained a husband who is my greatest
lover and friend; I gained a mother who is a friend too; and I have gained many
friends who delight in my happiness.
So this has been part of my Journey to Victory - named for
my father - Victor George Reich.
* Karen works for Xtreme Training Academy
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